From a game awash with twists and turns, the contest has seldom thrown up a more rousing finale with veteran Kilbrin team captain Noel O’Callaghan snatching a priceless match-winning goal.
Bar the opening minute, Kilbrin chased the game for much of the hour but hit back with vengeance. The winning goal stemmed from a penalty won by Liam Daly and Kieran Sheahan’s pile-driver was stopped only for O’Callaghan to nip in and net the winner.
Earlier, Banteer, driven on by a goal from the hugely influential David Murphy, powered into the ascendancy. Kilbrin began to warm to their task and a cracking goal by Eoin Sheahan offered encouragement.
Still, Banteer were determined to take the game to the champions and a Denis Roche green flag secured a deserved 2-7 to 1-5 interval lead. Kilbrin appeared galvanised into action for the restart but three points were cancelled out by a second Roche goal.
Improving Kilbrin did mount a rally and five points on the bounce tied up the game. But Banteer responded to jump four ahead.
However the real drama was yet to unfold and captain fantastic O’Callaghan delivered that telling knockout blow to send Kilbrin fans into raptures.
Scorers for Kilbrin: L Daly 0-7 (4fs), W Egan (3fs), S Crowley 0-3 each, E Sheahan, N O’Callaghan 1-0 each, K Sheahan 0-2, P Egan, S O’Reilly 0-1 each
Scorers for Banteer: D Murphy 1-7 (4fs), D Roche 2-2, D Buckley (s/l), P Cremin and S Twomey 0-1 each.
KILBRIN: P O’Callaghan; P Aherne, M O’Riordan, C Carroll; W Corkery, W Egan, D Sheahan; P Egan, David O’Sullivan; E Sheahan, K Sheahan, T O’Reilly; S Crowley, N O’Callaghan, L Daly.
Subs: Daniel O’Sullivan for Corkery (ht), S O’Reilly for T O’Reilly (ht).
BANTEER: K Roche; B O’Keeffe, B Withers, C Mannix; J Twohig, D Mannix, D Kearney; S Twomey, D McCaulliffe; K Tarrant, P Cremin, D Murphy; E O’Flynn, D Roche, D Buckley.
Referee: J Sexton (Ballyhea).